TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH: Burns Research to Burns Prevention—Translational Research and the Prevention of Thermal Injury

Prof. John Pearn1, Mr Cody  Frear1

1Burns Unit Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, South Brisbane, Australia

The challenge to those who work in the domains of thermal safety is how best to translate research findings into practice.Extensive research into the causes, clinical effects and treatment of thermal injury has generated an extensive corpus of knowledge about the prevention of thermal injury; and has generated an extensive doctrine concerning optimal first aid responses by bystanders–  that once tissue injury has occurred, secondary complications might be reduced. Such secondary effects include infection, the degree and quality of scarring, and the duration of hospitalization. Such knowledge has practical relevance only if apposite preventive doctrine and first aid knowledge is taught and applied in real life, both by potential victims and those ( parents, bystanders and victims) at the accident-site itself. The portals for primary prevention are targeted education of risks, improvements in physical design, and safety legislation. Secondary prevention applies to first aid management. Translational research in the primary domain of burns prevention has shown that safety legislation is the most effective stratagem to reduce thermal injury. Greater exposure to first aid instruction has undoubted benefits for secondary amelioration of side effects; but its role in primary prevention, although logical and anticipated, remains unaddressed and therefore unproven. This paper advocates several specific pathways by which the knowledge generated by research might be better translated into practice.

This is a dual (tandem) presentation (3 min–2min– 2min–3 min) presentation. Professor John Pearn is a senior researcher in trauma prevention; and a Member of the Australian Resuscitation Council for 20 years. For 10 years( 1990-1999) he was the National Director of Training for St John Ambulance Australia, responsible for all published doctrine on the first aid management of the burnt victim. Cody Frear is a medical scientist and full-time Doctorate student ( University of Queensland) based in the Burns and Trauma Unit of the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane.

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